“Teaching is an artisan profession. Excellent teaching requires all the skills, creativity and craftsmanship that the word “artisan” implies. Teaching done well yields a uniquely artisan product,” said Nancy Jester, District 1 Representative to the DeKalb County Board of Education in explaining her support for the statewide charter amendment which would give the State of Georgia the ability to approve charter school petitions to meet local needs. As it stands now, local boards of education don’t like the competition from charter schools which are also public schools. So, these competition-averse school boards take every opportunity to trump up reasons to deny charter petitions.
“There is no downside for teachers in this charter school amendment,” Jester continued. “This is really an organic movement that will enable excellent teachers to take back control of their profession and their careers. I envision smart teachers getting together to start their own charter schools. Why would they want to be under the thumb – or the hob-nail boot – of DeKalb’s central office administrators when these teachers know best how to teach?”
Henry Ford led the way in making automobiles affordable to the American public through development of mass production of his Model T. And, then Ford lost his way and his market advantage by refusing to embrace innovation that was clearly desired by customers. Ford’s one-size-fits-all Model A, introduced in 1920, was still a relic of the past even as it was being produced. But, Henry Ford influenced more than just car production.
Since the 1920s, public schools have applied the Henry Ford mass production model and the factory principle of economies of scale, ineffectively, to education — consolidating into ever-larger entities. “Educational fads and fancies come and go, but they are imposed on an educational model that remains stuck in the past. While Henry Ford’s Model A has become just an artifact, public education after all this time continues to operate on a Model A chassis,” noted Daniel Hager, an adjunct scholar for the MackinacCenter for Public Policy.
For example, DeKalb County Schools is an antediluvian behemoth – and an educational bureaucracy mostly run by overpaid self-important educrats who are both incompetent and corrupt. Like all bureaucrats everywhere, they seek self-perpetuation. DCSS educrats will not willingly relinquish their chokehold on our children and our tax dollars. They know that there is nowhere else that they can make so much money for doing so little. Many of their “advanced degrees” are laughable. The fate of our children is of no consequence to them as long as they can continue to stuff their pockets with our money and do the same for their friends and family.
The constitutional amendment for charter schools offers an excellent work-around opportunity for teachers and communities who want their own school system – smaller, completely transparent, more personal, more responsive, closer to the customer, providing excellent education through artisan teaching – over which they can exercise true local control. Charter schools are a step in the right direction.
If the constitutional amendment passes, DeKalb County Schools can no longer hold hostage the wishes of the local community. They can either approve the charter school petitions that are brought before them – or the state will hopefully do so. This is a wonderful opportunity for teachers to work with parents to establish schools that meet local needs and are accountable.
Henry Ford finally chose to change, though his refusal to meet the needs of customers meant he had lost marketshare that he would never regain. Public schools cling to their own Model T mentality like a security blanket. The charter school amendment offers opportunity to communities that care about their children.